• The Hamline Summer Writing Workshop

    The Hamline Summer Writing Workshop

    Write. Learn. Experiment. Restore. Engage. Experience all of this and more at Hamline's intensive residential retreat set on the campus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. At the annual Summer Writing Workshop, you will experience a deep immersion in the process and craft of writing with nationally known authors in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Students choose to commute to class each day or can stay on St. Olaf's picturesque campus. Those who stay on campus can use the free time to write, read, hike, or socialize.

    Students will spend their afternoons in focused study of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. Mornings are open to write, relax, or take advantage of the rich prairie, wetlands, and woodlands surrounding St. Olaf, or the lively charm of historic downtown Northfield.

    2014 Visiting Faculty

    Oliver de la Paz in Poetry

    Rebecca McClanahan in Creative Nonfiction

    Brad Watson in Fiction


    Browse faculty bios and course descriptions:


    2014 sww Oliver de la Paz 220Oliver de la Paz is the author of three collections of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, and Requiem for the Orchard, winner of the Akron Prize for poetry chosen by Martìn Espada.  He is the co-editor, with Stacey Lynn Brown, of A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. He co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Asian American poetry, and serves on the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Board. In 2013 he was one of the poetry mentors for The Loft Mentor Series.

    A recipient of a NYFA Fellowship Award and a GAP Grant from Artist Trust, his work has appeared in numerous journals, including Passages North, Virginia Quarterly Review, North American Review, Tin House, Chattahoochee Review, and in anthologies such as Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation. He teaches at Western Washington University. Visit Oliver de la Paz's website

    workshop description: "The Poetic Obsession"

    In this course we will be engaging in poems written as parts of long projects, sequences, and works in series. We’ll read excerpts of works from longer sequences and participate in prompts crafted to generate more work from a single source of inspiration.



    2014 sww Rebecca McClanahan 220Rebecca McClanahan is a published author of creative nonfiction and poetry. Her tenth book, The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change, is a multi-generational memoir published in 2013 by Indiana University Press. She has published a suite of essays, The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings, winner of the Glasgow Prize in nonfiction, and five books of poetry.  Her three books of writing instruction include Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively a text used in numerous creative writing programs. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, including The Best American Essays, The Best American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize anthology, Kenyon Review, Georgia Review, Boulevard, and Gettysburg Review.  Her awards include the Carter Prize for the essay from Shenandoah, and literature fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the MacDowell Colony. 
    Besides serving on the MFA faculties of Queens University (Charlotte, N.C. ) and Rainier Writers Workshop (Tacoma, Wa), Rebecca McClanahan travels throughout the country to conduct readings, workshops, and writing residencies. Visit Rebecca McClanahan's website

    workshop description: "Write, Read, Repeat: A Hands-On Workshop"

    This workshop focuses on generating new work and exploring multiple approaches to writing creative/literary nonfiction. I will give brief craft lectures and assign reading and writing exercises designed to illustrate various elements of the genre. Depending on your writing goals and projects, the exercises could lead to brief, stand-alone pieces or to segments that support a longer work-in-progress. Each day, we will have a read-around of the previous day’s assignments, followed by guided discussion. If you wish to receive feedback on a manuscript completed before the workshop, we can accomplish this during our conference time




    2014 sww Brad Watson 220Brad Watson is the author of award-winning books of fiction. His first book, Last Days of the Dog-Men: Stories, won the Sue Kauffman Award for First Fiction; his first novel, The Heaven of Mercury, received the Southern Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award; his most recent book, Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives, a novella and stories, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Stories in Aliens have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Greensboro Review, the PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories, 2010, and elsewhere. His awards include a 2004 NEA Fellowship and a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship.
    He has taught at the University of Alabama, Harvard, the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Mississippi, where he was the Grisham Writer-in-Residence. He currently teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Wyoming. Visit Brad Watson's website

    workshop description: “The Best Form”

    A man named Charles Caleb Colton is said to have coined the phrase, “Imitation is the best form of flattery.” In writing, the practice goes beyond flattery. Before there were writing classes, long before writing “workshops,” writers learned by reading other writers and teaching themselves how to write by studying those writers’ methods and, occasionally, imitating that work to one degree or another. What else could they do? We do not write in a vacuum. Tradition is our teacher, even if we depart at some point into innovative forms, and the form(s) is/are always evolving with the times, to one degree or another.

    In this workshop, we will begin by writing imitations of very short works.  We will then read a longer story (Joy Williams’ “The Farm,” from Taking Care, if you want to take an early look) and break that very complex story down into its various elemental parts and machinations, if you will – to see how it works.  We will spend the rest of our time in workshop discussing your original work. This is not required, but it’s encouraged.


    St. Olaf College in northfield, minnesota

    St. Olaf College rests on a beautiful 345-acre campus. Adjacent to the main campus are 700 acres of land, including woodlands, prairies, wetlands, and farmlands. A walk around campus could take you from Norway Valley through dense woods, across open prairie to the shore of a small wetland. It is a setting conducive to reflection, writing, and simple appreciation of the campus’ natural beauty. Northfield is less than an hour’s drive from the Twin Cities, so that students wishing to commute may do so. Dining in St. Olaf’s impressive student center is provided by Bon Appetit. www.stolaf.edu   

      st olaf praries

    Explore St. Olaf's prairies, woodlands, wetlands, and trails.
    Photo via www.stolaf.edu

    Visiting Northfield: http://www.visitingnorthfield.com  


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    JULY 28 - AUGUST 1, 2014

    Mornings free for writing, hiking, etc.
    Afternoon workshop sessions, 1-4.
    Faculty reading on Tuesday evening;
    Student reading on Thursday or Friday. 

    Registration for current Hamline students is open now. Alumni/Sampler registration will open on Monday, March 3.


    Students can register for 2 credits or for zero credit, as well as on-campus or commuter pricing options.
    Full tuition & fee information  

    CWP Confidentiality Agreement &
    Workshop Basics & Etiquette Guidelines

    Note to community members (non-Hamline students): While the Summer Writing Workshop is open to community members who have completed a BA, students accepted into the course are expected to have experience in creative writing and a strong foundation in the elements of the craft. The workshop is a graduate-level course and students should be able to discuss readings and fellow students' work at that level; the workshop is not an introductory level course designed to teach the basics.

  • Visiting Faculty Archive:

    Wells Tower
    Marilyn Nelson
    Emma Bull
    Toi Dericotte
    Lia Purpura
    Nami Mun
    Bob Hicok 
    Benjamin Percy
    Mary Ruefle
    Ira Sukrungruang
    Wells Tower
    Patricia Smith
    Scott Russell Sanders
    Jean Valentine
    Matthew Dickman
    Michael Dickman
    June Spence
    Susanne Antonetta
    Jo Ann Beard
    Robin Hemley
    Michael Martone
    Junot Diaz
    Brenda Miller
    Catherine Bowman
    Josip Novakovich
    Marsha Chall
    G.E. Patterson
    Judith Ortiz Cofer
    Sandra Benitez